I went with a couple of business friends to Mastro's new Palm Desert, CA steakhouse during their opening week and it's got a really cool vibe. The restaurant's basically built around the bar/lounge area and attracts an ecletic, well dressed looking clientele. On a Wednesday night at 8:00, the place was packed. For starters, drinks at the bar are a must. They've picked and trained the bartenders very carefully as they're outgoing and know their stuff. Our bartender, Shanice (I think that's right), asked my name right off, introduced herself, and was very helpful in choosing wines, offering tastings of different picks. The drinks were also very ample to say the least! She created a very good first impression and the bar scene was a good place to start. Check one box. Now to the restaurant and food. Once again, our server was friendly, engaged and efficient. We had steaks of course and they were very good with the usual steakhouse sides, Caesar salad, creamed spinach and scalloped potatoes. Delicious. Only one small problem with my steak not being cooked just right - I ordered medium rare but it was closer to rare. Our server took it back and returned it just right. I'll nitpick a little on this. Mastro's is an expensive place. My steak was $54 (big though, 24 oz NY & the do have lower priced 16oz NYs I'll concede) and for a place of this caliber, I would have refired a new steak, not sent out the old one with a few bites out of it. But it was opening week so you might expect a few hiccups. All in all, I give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5 for food, in the very good steakhouse category, and 5 stars for service and atmosphere. In my book, for the steaks to get 5 stars, in addition to quality, they must be dry aged for a minimum of 30 days not wet aged as is their meat. Still, well worth a visit.
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